Announcing the Winners of the First Voyage of the Mind Poetry Day!
Before I announce the winners, a few words.
First of all, this first Voyage of the Mind Poetry Day was an amazing experience for me! I loved reading all of the entries and seeing all the poets who participated read and comment on each other’s work. I got to see community in action. It was wonderful. I can’t stress that enough.
I want to thank each and every participant. There were sixteen entries. Here are the names (or Twitter handles, where I don’t know names) of the poets who entered. I encourage you to check out their work in the comments of the Poetry Day Announcement post, as well as on Twitter and wherever else they post their poetry and other written works.
Martin Dix, @MartinDix87, a fabulous poet and supporter
Ingrid of Experiments in Fiction, a collaborator of mine who has contributed several guest posts to Voyage of the Mind
Dr. Natalie Reilly-Johnson, @nreillyjohnson (whose beautiful poem has the best story behind it — check it out in the comments of the Poetry Day Announcement post)
Rita Rana, @RitaRana07, one of the kindest souls I know and a fabulous poet to boot
@StorinoDana, who I don’t know all that well but who I was very happy to connect with via this friendly competition
@NineofSeven2, who wrote an awesome poem that I think should be turned into a bumper sticker — again, check it out in the announcement post
Randall McNair, @RandallMcNair3, whose beautiful work I was honored to read
Todd Franklin Osborn, @HeaventreeR, a wonderful poet and excellent conversationalist who has a blog and a wonderful connection of stories available on Bibbit
@sabdapalan, who wrote a gorgeous poem that you can read on the announcement post
Jaya Avendel of Nin Chronicles, a poet and multi-niche blogger just like myself
@ZanneQuinn, another poet who I became acquainted with through Poetry Day
Adam Gibbs, @AdamGibbs03, whose poem thoroughly delighted me
A word on the judging
Now, I knew that the judging part of Poetry Day was going to be hard. But did I know it would be quite this hard? For one, I wasn’t judging blind, and as you can tell from the above list I have varying degrees of familiarity with each of the poets. I had read other work from some of them, but none from others. So this is one problem. As a result, I am looking for someone to judge the next Poetry Day competition. I will attempt to have the judge, whoever it turns out to be, conduct a blind judging. But for now, I hope you’ll forgive my subjective judgement in this Poetry Day. It’s a friendly competition, which means it doesn’t matter much in the end who “wins,” and I can tell you now that all the poems I received are worthy of praise.
Initially, I intended to have three winners, two runners-up and one grand prize winner, but that morphed into four winners, three runners-up and one grand prize winner, when I couldn’t make up my mind.
The three runners-up
Honestly, judging this contest was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. But I eventually settled on the poems of these three poets to receive a special mention here.
First off, a poem from Benyin titled “In This Season.” The language he uses grabbed me from the start and held me till the end. You must read his poem. It’s brilliant. There are so many beautiful lines, lush word choice… I love this poem. I could read it over and over again.
Second, a poem from Jaya Avendel without a title — read it here on Twitter. I still cannot believe the beauty of the second stanza. I love animals, so putting chickadees and lions in the same stanza is going to take the cake for me, every time. Check out more on Jaya’s work on Nin Chronicles.
Thirdly, Adam Gibbs’ poem, which you can read in the comments of the Poetry Day Announcement. Adam doesn’t have a blog, but he does have a novella — which you can pick up a copy of here. His poem startled me with its vivid language and its use of both summery and military language. You’ll have to read it to see what I mean!
The grand prize winner
After parsing through these poems over and over again, I finally settled on the grand prize winner: Randall McNair. Randall wrote a stunning and stunningly short poem — a haiku, if I’ve counted its syllables correctly. It’s so short and sweet that I’m going to reprint it right here. It’s titled “Blackbird Fly.”
Blackbird draw yourself
on the blank chalkboard of sky—
as fall draws nigh, fly.
Now it’s possible I’ve always been one for simplicity, and that’s why this poem came out on top at the end of the day, but whatever the case — I adore the second line, and fall is my favorite season… Randall’s title is “Poet Laureate of the Absurd,” and you can pick up his debut poetry collection, Dispatches from the Swinging Door Saloon, in audiobook, hardcover, or paperback here on his website. I know that I’ll be picking up a copy in my next round of book-buying, because I absolutely love his poetry. Congratulations, Randall!
A big thank you…
… to everyone, the poets and the readers, who participated in Poetry Day. It wouldn’t have been Poetry Day without you! In a week or so, I’ll announce the second Poetry Day — its date and its theme — and I hope that everyone who participated will participate again, and that you’ll spread the word to more poets so that we can make Poetry Day even bigger! If you are interested in judging, or know someone who might be, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know. Again, a huge, huge thank you to everyone who participated. I hope that you’re looking forward to the next Poetry Day as much as I am!
“Suspended Animation,” a brief poem about the mental discomfort and anguish caused by isolation during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Dill Weed Dreaming,” a short poem tying love and loss to the changing of the seasons. Inspired by the power of smell.
“Song for the Gallows,” a very short poem about crime and punishment.
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